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Photos: Kay Hinton

Finding a way to reuse high-quality salvage architectural products is often a way to imbue a project with a sense of character, history, and interest. But sometimes using old products is also a good way to save money or meet a tight budget.

Architect William J. Carpenter was able to accomplish all of the above when his Decatur, Ga.–based firm Lightroom Studio was designing Lightcatcher, a new custom home for a well-known Atlanta architectural photographer.

Located in downtown Decatur, the project—which includes the photographer’s house as well as her studio—is built on the foundations of an existing residence. As a tribute to the previous dwelling, Carpenter decided to save the front door and reuse it in the new house. “It was a way to remember the existing house that stood on this site,” he says. “We recycled all of [the old home’s] materials and left the door in its original position in memory of the house.”

But salvaging the door required more work that one would think; it needed some repairs. The firm had to “strip it and rebuild the base, which was termite damaged and water damaged,” Carpenter says. “We then replaced the hinges and hardware and glass.”

Because the door was a high-quality solid white oak slab dating from 1932, it was probably worth the effort for Lightroom Studio to save and reuse it. But salvaging it also made financial sense when you consider that a similar new door would cost $1,200 or more, says Carpenter. Saving it cost $430. 

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.